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New bill expands Medicaid coverage for pregnancies

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In an effort to improve maternal health outcomes and decrease postpartum mortality rates in Michigan, Senator Winnie Brinks introduces a senate bill to expand temporary, pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage to one year after childbirth.

Typically pregnancy related Medicaid in Michigan only last for two months after birth, but Senator Winnie Brinks wants to ensure after those two months no women in Michigan is forced to go without medical treatment because they cannot afford it.

“The whole idea is to, of course, reduce maternal mortality but there are also other benefits as well including health of children and other people in the home and it also helps decrease the disparities for maternal death and complication between white women and  women of color,” said Brinks.

According to a report from the Michigan League for Public Police, 53% of maternal deaths in Michigan between 2011 and 2016 were determined to have been preventable. And while the maternal mortality rate for women of color has improved in the last decade, Black and Indigenous mothers in Michigan are still more likely to die from pregnancy related causes than white women according to the CDC.  

“We’ve seen that women anecdotally are foregoing care for multiple barriers but one of those barriers just doesn’t need to be a lack of insurance coverage,” Brinks says.

The estimated cost of the bill to the state is around $7 to $8 million dollars and Brinks says she’s hopeful the bill make it to next year’s states’ budget.